The sound of all-star quartet The Damage Manual will not surprise anyone that is slightly acquainted with post-punk/industrial collaborations such as Murder Inc, Pigface and Hyperhead. With members like ex-Killing Joke guitarist Geordie Walker, Revolting Cocks vocalist Chris Connelly and of course the inexhaustible Pigface-coordinator Martin Atkins as common denominators, this is not a very controversial fact. And adding legendary P.I.L-bassist Jah Wobble to this context is also anything but bewildering.
Obviously, these industrial old-boys get along very well on their different journeys through a mostly Killing Joke/P.I.L-based landscape - an area that spiritually finds comfort in the psychedelic scene of the seventies. And the love for Bowie certainly shines through on excellent tracks like "Top Ten Severed" and "Peepshow Ghosts", where the vocal cords of Connelly gets its wildest Bowie-fantasies fulfilled.
But like on previous collaborations, an unpleasant presence of routine prevail the self-titled album of The Damage Manual. They simply play it safe when hiding behind Walker's characteristic guitar and some stompy electronics - a fact that even the mixing aid of legendary producer and Material bassist Bill Laswell can do very little about. Still The Damage Manual is a lot more interesting than Murder Inc ever were and also more focused than most Pigface albums. Other highlights on the album include The Orb's dub version of "Sunset Gun" and "Expand", which is a frantic drum-experience signed by Atkins.
But in some way these guys need something to make them dizzy, a radical element injected into their exclusive group of ageing alternative legends. I don't know in what way this should be materialised, but it better take them far from the Killing Joke-extension that they constantly are on the verge of becoming.